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Christian charities among hundreds with new demands for North Korean leader

Fri 08 Jun 2018
By Tola Mbakwe

Three hundred human rights organisations, including several Christian charities, have signed a joint letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urging him to make "lasting improvements to the dire human rights situation" in the country.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is one of the signatories on the letter. The charities welcome increased dialogue between the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea (DPRK) and other countries, but state that they have yet to see actions on the part of the government "that would signal clear improvements in the lives of DPRK citizens or their basic rights and freedoms".

 

The letter urges Kim Jong Un to:

  • Act on United Nations human rights recommendations,
  • Increase engagement with the international human rights system,
  • Respond to and take action on the findings of the seminal 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry
  • End abuses in detention and prisons, including forced labour
  • Establish regular meetings of separated families of any foreign national with relatives in North Korea
  • Accept international humanitarian aid with appropriate monitoring to ensure it reaches needy people and communities.

Benedict Rogers, CSW's East Asia team leader, said: "It is essential that the human rights crisis in North Korea, which the United Nations Commission of Inquiry described as 'without parallel' and as amounting to crimes against humanity, is addressed as part of engagement with the North Korean regime."

"For that reason, we have come together with other human rights organisations around the world to send this letter to Kim Jong-Un, setting out the issues which he must address alongside denuclearisation if he wants to convince us that he is serious about change.

"We urge him to address these concerns, and we call on the United States to ensure that these issues are on the agenda in the summit between President Trump and Mr Kim in Singapore next week."

President Donald Trump has said he will invite Kim Jong Un to the US if their summit in Singapore is a success.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has also said he's hopeful the leader of Pyongyang is willing to denuclearise North Korea "completely and irreversibly".

The letter is signed by 52 organisations, including coalitions, representing more than 300 nongovernmental organisations from Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and North America.

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